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  • Talk to me about mitts

    I'm in the market for a new pair of mitt for winter treks in real cold (temps from say -10F to -40F). Would love to hear what others are using and your reflections on what works for you and what doesn't. I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with EWCC's True North Mitts and Big Mitts, Steger's Arctic Mitts, Wintergreen Northern Wear's Plunge Mitts, and beaver mitts.

    I typically use dachstein wool mittens or an inexpensive pair of leather choppers made by Caiman (these have synthetic insulation and a knit liner). Both have their place, but once it hits 0F (with the choppers) or the negative single digits (with the dachsteins), they're maxed out. I ended up buying a pair of OR Altis for colder temps but haven't used them. At the time I had my heart set on a good pair of beaver mitts or EWCC mitts, and while the Altis are warm, they're not exactly what I'm looking for.

    So. What are you using for winter trekking and trail chores when the temps drop into the negatives and keep going lower? Anyone have opinions to share on EWCC's, Steger's, Wintergreen's mitts? Others I'm overlooking? I do have a sewing machine and while I'm a beginner, I'm open to sewing overmitts or modifying off-the-shelf mitts.

  • #2
    May not be exactly what you're looking for but I made a pair of overmitts from deerskin using the pattern found in The Snow Walker's Companion. I then coupled them with a pair of heavyweight fleece mitts I picked up on sale at the original Wintergreen store in Ely, MN when I was out there one summer on a canoe trip. They keep my hands incredibly warm but the drawback is they're bulky so doing anything that requires fine motor movement while wearing them is pretty much impossible.

    That's all for now. Take care, good luck in finding what you're looking for and until next time...be well.

    snapper

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    • #3
      I own none of these brands, but when veteran Iditarod mushers get excited when Kevin at Empire Wool and Canvas drops some new mitts on his site, my attention is had. 😎

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      • #4
        This reply isn't so much for the OP, but for anyone looking for mitts that aren't on the same level as Kevin's at EWCC ( how do you beat that?). I have a pair of Frost River Great Northern Choppers made with waxed canvas and 300g polar fleece. Not as warm as higher end mitts, but priced at $110 for a pair. They work well for the typical WI winter. They work even better if paired with liners.

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        • #5
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          Originally posted by snapper View Post
          May not be exactly what you're looking for but I made a pair of overmitts from deerskin using the pattern found in The Snow Walker's Companion. I then coupled them with a pair of heavyweight fleece mitts I picked up on sale at the original Wintergreen store in Ely, MN when I was out there one summer on a canoe trip. They keep my hands incredibly warm but the drawback is they're bulky so doing anything that requires fine motor movement while wearing them is pretty much impossible.

          That's all for now. Take care, good luck in finding what you're looking for and until next time...be well.

          snapper
          Thanks Snapper. Glad to hear you had a good experience with these. FYI, wintergreen does sell liners only for their plunge mitts (so they have the gauntlet. They're a double layer of polartec 300. Do you have any sizing tips based on your experience? I've always shied away from sewing mitts because I have visions of putting all this work into relatively expensive leather and having them come out too small.

          I learned a lot from the Conover's book. It was hugely influential in changing my ways from a mountaineer/cold camper something I find a lot more fun and fulfilling. Here's the mitten pattern for those who aren't familiar. Hope it encourages you to buy the book if you don't have a copy!

          Last edited by Dutch_Henry; 02-03-2022, 08:22 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SD_Motak View Post
            This reply isn't so much for the OP, but for anyone looking for mitts that aren't on the same level as Kevin's at EWCC ( how do you beat that?). I have a pair of Frost River Great Northern Choppers made with waxed canvas and 300g polar fleece. Not as warm as higher end mitts, but priced at $110 for a pair. They work well for the typical WI winter. They work even better if paired with liners.
            Thanks! I'll take a look at these!

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            • #7
              Dutch_Henry - It's been a long time since I made the mitts but I had the same concern as you. I was fortunate enough to have access to a copy machine that could enlarge quite a bit. Using the instructions in the book, I enlarged the pattern until I was happy that my hand would fit without being too tight.

              That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

              snapper

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              • #8
                Normal humans(non Alaskans) don't need Big Mitts for any reason.

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                • #9
                  I have made the mitts from the Conover book. Great pattern, I just made mine too big. If I were to redo them, I would probably make them longer in the cuff then the book mentions, and also add elastic or a tightening system, as well as making them a bit smaller fit.

                  I next got the Frost River Great Northern Choppers SD_Motak mentions and I couldn't be happier. Frost River makes them slightly big, which is perfect because I can wear a nice leather glove that can fit comfortably in the mitt. This means that I can do delicate work without having to ever expose my skin.

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